SpaceX launch of robotic arm to space station reset for Sunday

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket sits on the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center on Friday, waiting for the start of its resupply mission to the International Space Station. Photo by Joe Marino/UPI

Aug. 28 (UPI) — Launch of a SpaceX rocket from Florida carrying part of a robot that could help perform routine tasks for astronauts on the International Space Station was postponed early Saturday morning because of storms near the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center.

“Weather is not in our favor today,” SpaceX production supervisor Andy Tran said during a live webcast of the launch attempt. “The vehicles, both Dragon [capsule] and Falcon [rocket], remain healthy.

Launch of the resupply mission, with 4,800 pounds of goods for the space station, was reset for 3:14 a.m. EDT Sunday.

During NASA commentary during a streamed broadcast, spokesman Joshua Santora expressed frustration on behalf of the launch team, saying, “We opened the show with a situation that had us at about a 60% chance of violating specifically to the cumulus cloud rule, but since our show has begun we’ve had a couple of other issues pop up.”

Aside from rainstorms, controllers had to deal with clouds and lightning — issues that put the lid on a launch.

Space Force forecasters gave a somewhat better outlook for a Sunday attempt, setting the probability of bad weather at 40%, with heavy clouds and storms again a possibility.

The robotic arm is the feature of the resupply mission, which will bring food, clothing, repair parts and other essentials to the space station crew.

Members are looking forward to setting up the S1 robotic arm, which was developed by GITAI Japan to work in space much like industrial robots do on Earth.

The first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket is to be used for the fourth time, having already launched a satellite and two astronaut missions to the space station. Elon Musk’s SpaceX intends to land it again on a barge in the Atlantic Ocean after descent.

The capsule for the mission previously flew once before on another cargo flight. It is scheduled to dock at the space station about 11 a.m. EDT on Monday.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here